A national cryptocurrency in Iran has been in speculation for months, but the official announcement for the launch is anticipated to finally come at the annual two-day Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference.

The conference begins on 29 January in the nation’s capital, Tehran, with the theme this year being ”blockchain revolution”.

The primary reason Iran is speculated to be launching the cryptocurrency is to circumvent US sanctions that have the country cut off from the global financial system. Plans for the cryptocurrency were first revealed in Summer 2018 when US President Donald Trump claimed Iran was enacting “malign activities”, and the economy has only suffered further blows since then.

In November 2018, some banks were barred from using the cross-border payment system SWIFT which has left the country struggling to pay for imports or collect export payments. The Iranian cryptocurrency has been proposed firstly to establish a new national payment network, but the government most crucially believe it will put the country back in the game of international finance, this time in a blockchain-based system.

In April 2018, Iran prohibited all financial institutions from handling or facilitating cryptocurrencies under the pretense of money laundering and criminal activity concerns. However, the ban has been more associated more likely to act as a way of preventing a capital exodus from the country.


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